The loss of a family member can be a devastating experience, especially if it is due to the negligence of another. Frequent claims of negligence resulting in wrongful death include medical malpractice, defective products, motor vehicle accidents, and prescription medication errors.

No matter the type of accident that caused such an unfortunate loss, you could still recover compensation to deal with the costs associated with your loved one’s death. Through a civil claim led by a personal injury lawyer, you could hold negligent parties accountable. Contact a Staunton wrongful death lawyer today to see what could be done to help.

Personal Representatives and Beneficiaries for a Wrongful Death Case

Under Virginia’s wrongful death laws, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. Importantly, a personal representative may also be a beneficiary of the deceased victim and thus be authorized to recover damages in a wrongful death claim.

All beneficiaries are divided into classes and listed in order of priority, as established in Virginia Code §8.01-53:

  • Surviving spouses, children, and grandchildren
  • Surviving parents and siblings
  • Relatives who share the deceased person’s household and are dependent on the deceased
  • A surviving family member covered by Virginia intestacy law, or law that processes the estate of a person that died without a will

If a category of beneficiaries is absent, the next class on the list is applied. For instance, the deceased party’s living parents or siblings would recover damages in a Staunton wrongful death claim if the decedent was single and without children. A qualified Staunton wrongful death attorney could provide answers to questions an injured party has about Virginia wrongful death laws.

How Can a Family Member Recover Compensation After a Fatal Accident in Staunton?

To recover compensation for losses, surviving family must show that they were negatively affected by the loss of their loved one in addition to proving fault. The primary measure of damages in a Staunton wrongful death case is pecuniary or financial injury. Under Virginia law, a deceased’s estate may recover damages such as:

  • Compensation for a reasonably expected loss of income or benefits of the decedent
  • Reasonable funeral expenses
  • Expenses for treatment of the decedent caused by the injury resulting in death
  • Loss of companionship or guidance
  • Loss prospect of inheritance
  • Survivors’ pain and suffering
  • Care of a child

In some wrongful death cases, the court may require that the defendant pay punitive or exemplary damages. Rarely awarded, punitive damages punish an offender for conduct that demonstrated a conscious disregard for the safety of others. A skilled Staunton wrongful death suit attorney may increase an estate’s likelihood of recovering punitive damages.

What Documents Should the Deceased’s Family Members Bring to an Initial Consultation with a Lawyer?

There are certain documents that you should bring to your initial meeting with a fatal accident attorney. These documents include the death certificate, the insurance policy on the deceased’s vehicle, a copy of the will, and the qualification of an administrator of the estate.

What are the Biggest Mistakes to Avoid During the Consultation?

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when meeting with an attorney for the first time is withholding information. During your initial consultation, you are granted attorney-client privilege, so no one else will find out what you discussed. It is important to be open and honest with your attorney in order to improve your chances of succeeding with the case.

Contact a Staunton Wrongful Death Attorney Today

It is crucial to hire an experienced Staunton wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to fight on behalf of your loved one that has passed. A skillful attorney could conduct an extensive investigation in a wrongful death case to determine who is at fault.

If a member of your family has passed as a result of a deadly accident, please contact our firm to plan a consultation with one of our attorneys. You may be entitled to recover financial damages such as reasonable expenses and a loss in companionship. Call today to speak to one of our attorneys who could explain your options and help you decide how to move forward.

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